How to Stand Out in the Market? Delivering a better Customer Experience

A CapricornVentis
White Paper
Delivering a better Customer
How to Stand Out in the Market?
Deliver a Better Customer Experience
© CapricornVentis Ltd 2013. All rights reserved
How to stand out in the market?
Delivering a better Customer Experience
WHY FOCUS ON CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE? ........................................................................... 2
WHAT TO DO THEN? .................................................................................................................... 4
HOW TECHNOLOGY CAN ENABLE IT?....................................................................................... 7
CONCLUSION .............................................................................................................................. 12
ABOUT CAPRICORNVENTIS...................................................................................................... 13
Customer Experience
Driving Productivity & Reducing Costs
Walt Disney once said: "Do what you do so well that they want to see it again and bring
their friends". When some were not even thinking of Customer Relationship
Management (CRM), Walt Disney was already into Customer Experience (CEM). He
idealised Disneyland with an experience-based concept, and today Disneyland's real
product is the experiences it creates. The success of the theme parks, and the
customer's loyalty and advocacy is due to that experience.
Because some senior executives perceive customer experience as being something
“soft and fluffy”, they might not realise that they are in the customer experience
business – everyone is. In fact, of the Top 20 global brands (Interbrand 2012), only one
company (Walt Disney) could be described as having a predominantly intangible
service proposition. A recent statement from Tim Cook of Apple… ”Our goal is to make
amazing products that our customer love…really great products that enrich people’s
lives.” He is referring to the experience that they want their customers to derive from
each purchase. As do BMW: their slogan reads “the Ultimate Driving Machine.” Just
consider the amount of people at Apple who are focused solely on making their
products better looking, better performing, easier to use, or at BMW, even refining the
‘click noise’ on door closure. Each company is acutely aware of the importance of how
their customers feel through the use of their products, which endorses the Forrester
definition of customer experience…”is how your customers perceive their interactions
with your company.“
Not all companies have the same financial resources as Apple to invest in innovative
new product development or indeed, to invest in facilities that can deliver cost
leadership in their selected segments. Customer Experience has become a key
strategy for companies that want to stand out and outplay their competitors where
product innovation or price leadership are not feasible.
Companies such as Apple don’t mix up customer experience with customer service. In
the majority of cases, people call customer service when they have a problem. So
equating customer service with customer experience is like saying a safety net is a
trapeze act. The net is important to the act; but if the performer needs to use the net,
then something has gone wrong with the show.
The potential benefits are great - research shows that 89% of consumers are willing to
pay more for a better Customer Experience. In addition, the #1 reason for a consumer
to recommend a company is outstanding experience. On the other hand, 86% of
consumers stop doing business with a company after one bad Customer Experience.
So where does customer service fit within the customer experience proposition?
To answer this question, Harvard Business Review used a simple analogy to consider
the sources of customer loyalty... ”Imagine two pies – one containing things that drive
loyalty and the other driving things that drive disloyalty. The loyalty pie consists largely
of slices such as product quality and brand; the slice for customer service is quite small.
But customer service accounts for most of the disloyalty pie. We buy from a company
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because it delivers quality products, great value or a compelling brand. We leave one,
more often than not, because it fails to deliver of customer service.”
Service failures not only drive existing customers to defect – they can also repel
prospective ones – the Bad Service Ripple Effect. For example:
25% of customers are likely to say something positive about their customer service
experience. In contrast, 65% are likely to speak negatively
23% of customers who had a positive service interaction told 10 or more people about
it, compared to 48% of customers who had negative experiences told 10 or more
Customers require and expect to have a great experience in every interaction. They
expect an efficient service and a rewarding relationship especially when they are
emotionally charged, (for instance, a lost credit card, a canceled flight, a malfunctioning
phone, a damaged piece of clothing or investment advice) when customers invest a
high amount of emotional energy in the outcome. How a company handles these
situations, how it provides frontline people with the requisite information and empowers
them to put the customer's emotional needs ahead of the company's and the
employee's agendas, is critical. Where frontline people are not available, then the
customer must experience an alternative channel that is easy to use, understanding
and is rewarding.
The Information Age has created a new generation of consumers avid for information.
To capture, process and share it. They are more demanding than ever, very well
informed, and certain of what they want. The Internet and Social Media have become
native to their life and culture and they use it not only to make better choices and
decisions – based on articles, opinions and reviews – but also to amplify their
messages. An experience can be shared across social media networks within seconds
– the ripple effect highlighted above is amplified exponentially. But they are forming
opinions about a company, and a psychological relationship, often well in advance of
any purchase.
Therefore any Customer Experience strategy needs to manage the interactions as if
there were an infinite loop – a seamless experience - that is reinforced with each
interaction over time, before, during, and after the purchase.
Lets look how.
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Customer Experience
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So far everyone agrees. Companies have to start focusing and investing on Customer
Experience. But how is that done? Do they need to change their products or services?
Do they need to change their brand? Do they need to change their internal processes?
Do they need to change the way they manage or engage customers? Do they need to
replace (or re-train) employees? Do they need to change strategy? Do they need to
change technology?
Almost certainly it is not necessary to change everything. Probably it is not even
necessary to change much – sometimes a small change can have a big impact.
Obviously it always depends on what is already in place (Strategy, Culture, Process,
Technology, etc.) and what is intended. And what is intended may change depending
on the company, the sector, the market, the customer. But to provide a better Customer
Experience there is always some common denominators.
The challenges of delivering a better Customer Experience are…
… And as Greg Gianforte (Founder of RightNow Technologies) explains in his book
“Eight to Great: Eight Steps to Delivering an Exceptional Customer Experience” (2008)
there are 8 main steps to provide a better Customer Experience.
The first step is to have a very comprehensive source of information – establish a
Knowledge Foundation, as Greg Gianforte rightly says. A company can only deliver
knowledge if it has that knowledge, and it will only be able to do it effectively and
efficiently if it can succeed on accumulating, managing and providing access to that
knowledge. If the knowledge is only on subject matter experts heads or spread across
some documents or databases the company will have a hard time understanding the
customer, and also delivering whatever the customer wants, wherever and whenever
he needs it. This source of information should incorporate two main types of data:
knowledge about the company, its products and services; and knowledge about the
customers, partners, and competitors.
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That common repository – that holds everything anyone needs to know, either
customers or employees – will enable the second and third main steps to provide better
Customer Experience: Empower Customers and Empower Employees. Customers
no longer have the time to wait for the company to have availability or will to attend
them. Waiting for a company to “do them a favour” can be frustrating. More and more
customers prefer a quick, intelligent and ubiquitous assistance. And the company’s
employees have to be knowledge-empowered as well, so they can be able to assist the
customers as subject matter experts (even if they are “newbies”), providing consistent
and coherent information, regardless of the time, channel or enquiry.
The fourth step is to enable multi-channel. With the rise of internet, social media and
mobile devices usage, customers expect and demand companies to do business
through whatever communication channel is the most convenient for them at any given
time. A customer might hear about a product in social media, select it on a mobile app,
purchase it on his laptop whenever he gets home, and collect it at the nearest store.
This transition between channels should obviously be simple and smooth, making it
easy for a customer to leap from a channel to the other without hassles and providing a
seamless experience.
Listen to what the customer has to say and be responsive is the fifth main step to
deliver a better Customer Experience. Customers’ feedback is invaluable because it
gives a real sense of how the company is performing. After having customers’ feedback
it is important not only to address their concerns but also be responsive, letting them
know that the company is taking their inputs into account in order to evolve and meet
their expectations. Making them feel valuable, integrated in the process, and part of the
company. The voice-of-the-customer should be captured, reviewed, analysed and
evaluated, helping the company to identify trends and pull opportunities.
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Design a seamless experience is the sixth, and one of the most critical steps to
deliver a better Customer Experience. At the eyes of a customer, a company is just a
company, not a cumulate of different teams or departments. Therefore it is very
frustrating for him/her to be dealing with a particular department of the company and the
employee doesn’t know what the other department did or said previously. It is key to
build bridges that will join the silos and create an intuitive and easy to use environment
in which everyone interacts seamlessly in contrast to multiple siloed channels, systems
and processes, leading to fragmented and negative experience.
If a company wants to deliver a better Customer Experience it cannot stick to reactive
communication by answering customer’s questions. Companies have to take the
initiative and engage customers proactively, in order to solve problems before they
occur or answer questions before they are even raised. There are several aspects of
proactive communications that are important for enhancing the Customer Experience:
send the customer the information that is most relevant to his/her case; engage through
the customer’s preferred channel; and personalise all communications.
Finally, to deliver a better Customer Experience is not enough to put in place a strategy
and implement these actions. It is very important and necessary to continuously
improve. For that, companies need to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of their
work in a daily-basis – analysing trends, employee’s performance, etc. – and not only
improve it but also present it to managers, executives or even customers. Also they
need to analyse the customer journeys, experiences and behaviors in order to acquire
a better knowledge of the customer and the market.
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1. Establishing a knowledge foundation
Establishing a knowledge foundation doesn’t mean that companies have to do a
gigantic effort of gathering all this type of information from their current or legacy
systems and databases. Or even perform a costly and time consuming input of other
data in the knowledge foundation beforehand.
On the contrary, they just have to be able to seed the knowledge foundation and then
take advantage of an intelligent and self-learning knowledge base – much more than
just a handbook – to capture information over time on the daily interactions with
employees and customers, in order to better help them.
Learning continuously from those interactions – working on structured or unstructured
data – infusing knowledge from the entire ecosystem and delivering real-time, relevant
information at every touch point, the key benefit of the knowledge foundation comes
from the easiness to seamlessly create, store, search and share information
The on-going and dynamic approach to knowledge management will ensure that
companies have an accurate and up-to-date knowledge foundation aligned with the
customer’s needs. The information gathered will not only help employees to deliver a
better Customer Experience, but also it can be used by customers for self-service.
2. Empower Customers
One of the best ways to Empower Customers is provide self-service, enabling them to
help themselves whenever and wherever they want, with no waiting and at the point of
need. With the advent of internet technologies and mobile devices web self-service
has become crucial.
With a rich, dynamic and self-improving source of information in place, companies are
ready to provide customers a highly effective web self-service. With this, customers can
quickly pinpoint the information they need, finding the answers without any assistance.
To enhance the experience, the search should be easy to use and available in several
ways like plain text, keywords, or product/category-based.
But a very good source of information is not the only way to provide web self-service.
Another raising tool for customers to self-service in the web is the peer to peer
communities, where customers can help each other by sharing their experiences. And it
is also proven that things like Most Popular Answers sections many times help
customers find an answer without any type of search.
Self-service saves the customer of having to wait for an employee to pick up the phone
or to answer the email. It delivers the relevant information in real-time and is available
24 hours, not only during business hours or strict times. Furthermore, self-service
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deflects emails, calls or chat sessions from the contact centre, avoiding employee
workload and overhead, therefore saving costs.
An effective web self-service must include many ways of presenting the content in order
to better answer and clarify the customer. Answers should include clear text, forms,
images, diagrams, videos or guides that can immediately be helpful for customers. One
answer displayed in the web self-service can respond to thousands of customers at the
same time, preventing thousands of calls or emails.
By tracking the way customers use web self-service, and by analysing the feedback
given on the information viewed (“was this answer helpful?”) the company can have a
rich insight into the customer’s needs and issues. Also, the search terms and the most
commonly accessed content can help the company know better the customers and
address most common issues/questions.
3. Empower Employees
Being on the frontline, employees need to quickly access the knowledge foundation,
and that knowledge has to be even broader than the one available to the customers.
To be able to deliver a consistent service, regardless the channel that the customer
uses to contact the company, employees need to see the same information that is
available to customers via self-service. But to provide an experienced, qualified and
specialist service they should also have access to extra knowledge that might not be
appropriate to publish online.
To make timely and accurate decisions an employee needs a 360-degree view of the
customer data. The more relevant information about the customer, the better
experience the employee can deliver. This information must be available in the screen
the employee sees while helping the customer, avoiding flick through different screens.
This single and comprehensive view of the customer will help employees to assist more
effectively and in less time.
Sometimes that relevant customer data is dispersed in many applications and systems,
and there is a need to collect and aggregate that information to present to the
employee. In this case, integration is needed to bring that information to the employee’s
screen and the right tools should be used to achieve this crucial requirement of
empowering the employees.
It is critical for the employee to have an interaction context, i.e. a history of the passed
interactions the customer had with the company. It prevents the employee from asking
the customer the same questions, and also gives him a track that can lead to the right
answer and quick resolution. This makes average handling times shorter and saves
customer the frustration to tell their story again and again.
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As employees are normally the first to face customer’s issues they should be able to
point out the need to modify or update the knowledge base. Therefore, they should be
allowed to propose or create new information to include in the knowledge base so
it is always complete and up to date. This is an important way to ensure that the
information provided is well aligned with what the customers need.
4. Enable Multi-Channel
Customers are channel-agnostic and expect companies to deliver upon their promises
online, in-store, on social, on the phone, etc. And there is a crucial point in here: the
information made available should be the same across all communication
channels, otherwise the customer will get different answers in different channels, losing
the confidence in the company and having a negative experience.
To successfully serve customers across multiple channels, all interactions should be
managed similarly and unified, instead of being treated as separate silos. This will
avoid a customer receiving a phone call addressing an issue that was already resolved
by email, which will be perceived as bad management and incompetence. Also the
customer is expecting an experience that offers a consistent voice and connected
interaction across all channels.
For example if a customer cannot find the relevant information using self-service, it
should be easy for him to submit a question through a web form or an email. And
ideally, when the question comes in, the employee should be able to know what content
the customer consulted in the self-service so that the reply does not give the same
information that was found useless.
The choice of which channels to use is very important. Offer more channels than those
the company is prepared to deal with will end up in bad customer experiences. Different
companies in various industries and markets may provide phone and email, whilst
others may add web self-service and chat, or even community forums. It is always
down to the customer’s preferences and type of product or service.
Trying to direct customers to the most appropriate channels is also very important as it
will not only turn the communication more effective and efficient but also reduce costs,
provide better experience and ensure that the employee’s team is well allocated.
5. Listen and be Responsive
There are many ways of capturing the voice-of-the-customer that will help
understand customer's expectations, preferences and aversions. One of the most easy,
cheap and efficient way to reach out to the customers is using surveys and social
Surveys should be used in various ways in order to capture the right answer in the right
time. Its content should also be suitable to the type of survey and how it reaches the
customer. It should not be long or time consuming for the customer.
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Surveys should be used to assess the company’s performance through generic
questions, and they should be sent to a segmented target. Others should be triggered
automatically at the end of interactions to sense the customer’s satisfaction using
questions related to what was provided moments before, in order to capture customer’s
Listen to what people – customers, prospects and influencers – are saying about the
company in social media is currently mandatory. The company should be also able to
analyse the sentiment to figure out what people sense and like, and try to understand if
they intent to purchase. But the approach to social media needs to be accurate and
filter out the noise.
Almost 80% of customers claim their posts on social media are ignored by companies.
To deliver a better Customer Experience, companies have not only to listen but also be
responsive, engaging and responding directly to customer’s posts and comments.
6. Design Seamless Experiences
The disruption between a company’s departments or teams that causes frustration to
the customers happens not only due to the lack of communication between those
departments or teams but also because of the existence of many siloed channels,
systems and processes.
Customers expect to find continuity and a consistent and coherent voice when they are
dealing with the company. They expect a strong and seamless connection across
channels, employees, departments and themselves. So companies should design and
enable seamless experiences across the organisation, in order to overcome not only
the external but also the internal boundaries.
Designing a seamless experience to the customer is as important as designing a
seamless experience to the employee. Therefore companies should be able to improve
collaboration, align their business processes, and build workflows that seamlessly
interact between channels and departments ensuring seamless handoffs between all
those touch points.
7. Engage Proactively
Engaging proactively with customers will not only enhance the Customer experience
but will also reduce costs by saving a huge amount of inbound communications.
The first, and probably the most important aspect, is to use the customers’ information
to select them, sending the information that is relevant to their particular case.
Personalisation is something that makes customers feel valued, and sometimes can
be achieved with simple things (e.g. customer’s name on top of message).
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Another important aspect is to engage through the customer’s preferred channel and
beware of spam or harassment. Customers don’t like to have their mailboxes full of
emails from a company, or some call centre agent calling them every day. The
communication has to be selective in terms of times and frequency. And it is mandatory
to have the opt-in and opt-out options that should be respected.
The proactive engagement can be planned, targeted and scheduled or automated,
triggered by an engine that bases its decisions in business rules and customer
behaviour. But it always has to deliver, through all channels, highly personalised
relevant communications based on complete customer history.
8. Measure and Improve
Customer Experience can be measured using the traditional objective metrics as
Conversion Rates, Average Order Value (AOV), First Call Resolution Rates (FCRR),
Average Call Times (ACT), Average Handling Time (AHT), Customer Satisfaction
(CSAT), Net Promoter Score (NPS), etc. But it can also be measured using the
responses of subjective assessments requested to the customers.
It is crucial to have an overview of everything that is happening on the ecosystem. A
better Customer Experience will depend on a clear view of the customer’s behavior,
employee’s efficiency, processes effectiveness, quality of the data and the ability to
cross-reference all this information.
Having all this information in real-time and displaying it in reports and dashboards
should also something to look at and make available for the evaluators and managers
to be able to easily and quickly get all the information they need and take actions
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All these steps will help companies deliver a better Customer Experience. But it is not
mandatory to address all of them at once. This can be done in a phased approach,
prioritising areas, dealing first with the more pressing issues and leaving the rest for
Companies who are capable of carrying out all these steps will surely improve customer
satisfaction and employee morale, save costs, and stand out in the marketplace. Better
Customer Experience drives loyalty, advocacy, and repeated business.
At the end of the day, a better Customer Experience makes opportunities grow,
augments sales, eases customer acquisition, and improves customer retention, hence
growing revenue and profit.
reduce costs and effort
build trust and
strengthen relationships 
increase sales and
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Reduce inbound Emails
Reduce inbound Calls
Reduce Employee Training
Reduce Average Handling Time (AHT)
Reduce Average Call Time (ACT)
Increase First Call Resolution Rate (FCRR)
Increase Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
Increase Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Increase Loan to Value (LTV)
Decrease Churn
Increase Number of Leads
Increase in Average Order Value (AOV)
Increase Conversion Rates
Customer Experience
Driving Productivity & Reducing Costs
CapricornVentis (CVL) is a specialist business technology consultancy company that focuses on
the areas of Business Intelligence (BI) and Customer Excellence (CRM/CEM) and, and their
facilitation through the use of good technology.
We work with our clients to Blueprint the business requirement, focusing on process (what you
do), information (the main ingredient) and people (the internal and external stakeholders). This
allows us to closely align each client’s business requirement with the technologies we
recommend and provide.
We only select technologies from leading vendors that are robust, proven and cost effective.
These technologies, when integrated by our professional services team, are part of a proposition
that enables us to deliver the level of business value that our clients desire.
Our Core Proposition addresses the key business challenges directly impacting the customer
and / or the operational processes and information needs internal to the business:
Business Transformation. Helping our clients to identify, define and migrate to new ways of
doing the same business, or new business strategies entirely.
Process Improvement. Looking at ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of
operational processes through better procedure and better technology..
Performance Management. Measurement and measurement against target (KPI). Deciding
what to measure/monitor, how to measure it and how to use the output to actually drive
Business and IT Alignment. Bringing appropriate technology to the business model and the
people managing it. Not just leveraging the technology, but shaping it to the needs of the
business that speaks to the highest value and ROI.
Customer Excellence. Leveraging the best available technology and solutions to make it easier
for customers and employees alike to transact and achieve their aims. More informed, faster,
easier, any time, any place and via any channel.
Our proposition is shaped by 1) the most current innovation and ideas, shaping how winning
companies engage with their markets, 2) the technology itself, how it is changing and the
potential it brings, and 3) our experience and resulting approach and methodology.
We have clients across a range of industries including Financial Services, Public Sector, Local
Government, Energy, Utilities, Life Sciences, Retail and Food. You can derive best practice,
innovation and ideas relevant to your industry, as well as leveraging what works in other
Contact Details:
Luis Melo
May 2013
United Kingdom
268 Bath Road
Block AD
Cherrywood Business Park
Dublin 18
Telephone: +44 845 313 8696
Connect with Us
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Telephone: +353 1 272 7700
Fax: +353 1 272 7799